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Coventry Outguns Stratford And Warwick For Tourists

More people visited Coventry in 1998 than Stratford and Warwick put together, and they brought £173 million into the city with them.

In total 5.4 million tourists, business visitors and people coming to see friends and family came to the city during the year.

It is the first time that official figures have been calculated for the city.

The biggest draw was Coventry cathedral, with an estimated 250,000 visitors, while the Museum of British Road Transport was ranked the most satisfying.

It scored an average of 4.7 on a scale of one to five.

Surveys for Stratford show 3.8 million visitors, while Warwick attracted 1.5 million.

The money brought into Coventry totalled £173 million and accounts for 6,000 full or part time jobs. Of this 43 per cent was spent in shops and 34 per cent on catering accommodation.

Of the different visitors to Coventry, business delegates from overseas were the biggest spenders, averaging £93 a day.

The figures were calculated by the Heart of England Tourist Board, who carried out extensive surveys among visitors.

The two-year study found that a fifth of the overseas tourists (around 60,000 in total) came from the United States. Australia was the source of 15 per cent of foreign visitors, with Germany providing ten per cent.

The results were then processed through a formula called the Cambridge economic model, which is the standard method of calculating tourism figures.

Coventry’s figures are a quarter of Birmingham’s, which is the fourth most visited city in Britain.

John Heeley, chief executive of Coventry and Warwickshire Promotions, said:

“The real importance of these figures is that for the first time we have some proper research to work with.

“We now have a benchmark to tell is whether all the work we are doing to make Coventry a more interesting visitor destination is paying off.”

Dr Heeley added that one area that could be improved is St Mary’s Guildhall, which is rarely open to tourists.

The 14th century building, next to the old cathedral only attracts around 15,000 visitors a year. It is closed from October to Easter and is also shut on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer months.

Dr Heeley said of the council-run hall:

“It is a place that we certainly feel responsibility for promoting and we include in events such as Writers At The Hall and Heritage open Days, but a lot more could be done with it if we were given the chance, particularly when you consider that it is next to the cathedral.”

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CWN / Tourism / Coventry & Warwickshire Promotions / 24 Jul 00

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